Peter Dinklage, the acclaimed American actor best known for playing the role of Tyrion Lannister in hit TV series Game of Thrones, has a wonderfully bizarre musical history and was in a 1990s punk band called Whizzy.
Playing a blend of ’90s punk, rap and funk, Whizzy were well known for playing at some of the most hostile venues across New York and Dinklage’s tendency to lose his mind on stage and pound the beers became infamous with the group. In fact, in one live review of the band, Columbia Spectator chose to describe Whizzy as “a spectacle of sardonic yet optimistic folly to which you can’t help but dance”. To get a better picture of the type of shows that Whizzy used to deliver, that same review described the venue as a “basement party that smelled like stanky thick beer and wet leather”.
Referencing his time in the band, Dinklage once said: “I was pretty angry back then” and, because of that, he’s left with a permanent reminder of his punk days. “We were punks, but we didn’t play punk rock,” Dinklage said on reflection. “It was a couple of friends from Columbia and a couple of friends from where I went to school, Bennington, in Vermont. We got together, and we just drank too much and played the old CBGB’s. We had a following, but our following was, like, progressive rock. It was all guys. For some reason, just dudes came to our shows. I felt a little bit, like, what’s the point of being in a rock band if there’s no ladies?”
Discussing the name of the band specifically, the actor added: “I think our drummer, Jim,” when explaining who thought of ‘Whizzy’. “It was a lot of fun. Then we all went our separate ways. But I felt like I was being just a dilettante. They were all real musicians, and they still are. I was just slumming it, having fun, and I don’t think that’s fair. I guess for a front man, it’s a common thing—they have more fun than anybody else.
The period of punk has left a lasting impression on the actor, in more ways than one. While the music is still engrained within his psyche, so is the scar which runs from his neck to his eyebrow. Performing at the iconic nightclub CBGB in New York City, Dinklage was accidentally kneed in the face and then started bleeding on the stage. “I think my friend kicked me in the head,” he later said. “It was OK, the show went on. I was bleeding all over the place, but it’s rock and roll. You see pictures of those guys back in the day—Sid Vicious or whatever. It’s punk rock, man.”
Check out some rare images, below: